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The Best Made Plans   By: (1918-1977)

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First Page:

[Illustration: Illustrated by van Dongen]

THE BEST MADE PLANS

By

EVERETT B. COLE

Astounding Science Fiction

[Illustration] There are some people that it is extremely unwise to cross ... and the fireworks start when two such people cross each other!

Transcriber's Note: This etext was produced from Astounding Science Fiction, November and December, 1959. Extensive research did not reveal any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

Don Michaels twisted about uneasily for a moment, then looked toward the doors of the darkened auditorium. He shook his head, then returned his attention to the stage. Of course, he'd joined in the applause a guy felt sort of idiotic, just sitting there while everyone else in the place made loud noises but that comedy act had been pretty smelly. They should have groaned instead of applauding.

Oh, sure, he thought, the drama students had to have experience on the stage. And they really needed an audience if they were going to have any realism in their performances. Sure, that part of it was all right, but why did the professionals have to join the party? Why did they have to have 'casts like that last thing especially at a school Aud Call? It seemed anything but educational, and he'd had to skip a good class for this one. He shrugged. Of course, everyone else had skipped one class or another, he knew. So why should he be an exception? Too, some of the students would welcome and applaud anything that gave them a break from their studies. And the schedule probably took account of this sort of thing anyway. But....

A fanfare interrupted his thoughts. From the backstage speakers came the smooth rhythm of a band playing a march trio. He sat back.

The screen glowed and became a large rectangle of blue, dotted with fleecy clouds. In the distance, the towers of Oreladar poked up from a carpet of green trees.

Swiftly, the camera approached the city, to center for a moment on a large sports stadium. Players dashed across the turf, then the camera swung away. Briefly, it paused to record various city scenes, then it crossed the walls of the Palace and came to ground level on the parade grounds of the Royal Guards.

A review was underway. For a few seconds, the camera held on the massed troops, then it centered on the reviewing stand. The band modulated smoothly into a brilliant quickstep and a column of guards marched to center screen, the colors of their dress uniforms contrasting with the green of the perfectly kept field.

Now, the field of view narrowed, centering the view first on the color guard, then on the colors alone. The camera moved down till the gold and blue of Oredan's royal colors stood out against the blue sky.

The band music faded, to be over ridden then replaced by a smooth baritone voice.

"This is your news reporter," it said, "Merle Boyce, bringing you the latest happenings of the day."

The colors receded, their background blurring then coming into focus again. Now, they stood before a large window. Again, the camera receded and a man appeared in the foreground. For a moment he sat at his plain desk, gazing directly out of the screen and seeming to look searchingly into Don's face. Then he smiled engagingly and nodded.

"As every citizen of Oredan knows," he said, "this nation has been swept by a wave of terrorism during the few days past. Indeed, the now notorious Waern affair became so serious that our Prime Minister found it necessary to take personal command of the Enforcement Corps and direct the search for the terrorists himself. Now, he is present, to bring to you, the people, his report of the conclusion of this terrible affair." He paused, drawing a breath.

"Citizen of Oredan," he declaimed slowly, "the Prime Minister, Daniel Stern, Prince Regent."

He faced away from the camera and faded from view... Continue reading book >>




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